An op-ed in leftist newspaper Haaretz has been slammed by figures on both the right and the left – including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who called the op-ed that called Religious Zionist Israelis “worse than Hezbollah” a “strange and sickening article. Haaretz has completely lost it. The Religious Zionist public are the salt of the earth. Their children serve in the highest levels in the IDF, for the security and safety of Israel. I am proud of their service to the country. Haaretz must apologize.”
At issue was the op-ed by Yossi Klein, an editor at Haaretz, that called the Religious Zionist public “dangerous, more dangerous than Hezbollah, more dangerous than car-ramming drivers and terrorists with scissors [who stab Israelis]. They want to take over the country and cleanse it of Arabs. If you ask them, they will deny this, but this is because they know it is too soon to say this directly. They are on the way to taking over, in a moment they will break the door down,” Klein wrote.
Condemnation of the article was sharp and swift – even from within the ranks of the newspaper. Haaretz foreign affairs correspondent Barak Ravid said that “two things occurred to me when reading the disgusting and foul article written by Yossi Klein. One, he does not know many Religious Zionists, and two, he does not know many Hezbollah members.” Zionist Camp head Yitzchak Herzog said that “we have had enough of these generalizations in which an entire group is condemned. This article should be condemned by all.”
Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid asked “does he mean that IDF soldier Ro’i Klein, H”yd, who jumped on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers during the Second Lebanon War “is more dangerous than Hezbollah? This article is nothing more than classic anti-Semitism.” In his own comment, Jewish Home party head Nafatali Bennett said that “just when you think Haaretz cannot sink any lower, they manage to surprise you.”
Speaking to Army Radio Thursday, Klein said that he had no intention of apologizing for this comments. “They are allowed to generalize when it comes to the left, to accuse us all of being Ahmed Tibi,” the radical Arab MK. “I expressed a legitimate opinion. I did not make an incorrect comparison, and I stand behind it.”